Dallas Stars Daily Links: Nill on the Recent Lineup Decisions

What does the Stars GM have to say about Jason Spezza’s recent scratches? Plus, the best potential first round matchups, unheralded rookies around the league, and more.

People often joke that after the NHL Trade Deadline, general managers can more or less go on vacation for the rest of the year. But while they can’t make any more trades, there still is one more method to bring in new players: calling someone up from the AHL.

Teams only get four non-emergency call-ups for the rest of the regular season, but that doesn’t mean GMs are afraid to use them. For instance, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill almost immediately used on one Joel L’Esperance, and recently did the same with Justin Dowling:

“The coach is very comfortable with him, and he’s been playing very well in Austin,” Nill said of Dowling... “He has a veteran presence and adds both an offensive and defensive element to the game. That’s a tribute to him, because there was a time when he was known mostly just for offense, but he’s improved his all-around game.”

Of course, the only point in calling up a player is if you’re going to play them, which in turn means someone else has to sit. In Dowling’s case, that player is Jason Spezza, who is now dealing with multiple healthy scratches for the first time in his lengthy NHL career.

“It is hard, because he’s a veteran and he’s well-respected. But the coach communicates, I communicate, and we’re honest and up front with everyone. In the end, we all want what’s best for the team,” Nill said. “The other thing I tell every one of these players is be ready, because it can change in an instant. You can go from healthy scratch to hero really fast in this league.”

You can read more from Mike Heika here.

Stars Stories

It’s game day! While the Calgary Flames have all but wrapped up the Western Conference title, the Stars are still fighting hard for a playoff spot:

Here’s a look inside the mind of head coach Jim Montgomery when it comes to where players sit in the locker room:

Playoff Primer

Let’s mix it up a bit today — we’re going to cover all of the playoff teams’ games!

  • The Washington Capitals inched closer to securing the Metro title while keeping the Carolina Hurricanes down thanks to a 4-1 win in D.C. [Japers’ Rink]
  • Elsewhere, the New York Islanders failed to make ground on the Capitals, thanks to a 4-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. [The Cannon]
  • That win would have put Columbus back in a playoff spot had the Montreal Canadiens not thrashed the Florida Panthers 6-1, eliminating them from the postseason. [Eyes on the Prize]
  • Finally, the Arizona Coyotes stayed alive in the playoff race thanks to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. [NHL]/

It was fun snap-shooting some Eastern Conference games for a change, but let’s be honest: you really only care about the West right now:

Down Goes Brown ranks the top 10 likely matchups for the first round, including one with the Dallas Stars:

Andrei Svechnikov is just one of many rookies getting overshadowed this season:

Adam Fox, whom the Carolina Hurricanes acquired from the Calgary Flames this past summer, looks like he’s going the free agency route:

Look, I don’t exactly envy Jason Spezza right now, but at least he’s still traveling with the team:

Are we sure all dreams of Vladimir Tarasenko in Victory Green are dead? Asking for a friend.

TIL John Cooper is currently the longest tenured coach in the NHL:


I’m just gonna leave this here...